9 reasons to use straw as a sustainable fuel:

  • Straw can be sourced locally, on an indefinite basis, contributing to security of supply.
  • Straw fuel enables stable production of electricity and heat from renewable sources (unlike eg. wind farms productivity of which is highly variable).
  • Modern straw boilers allow for high-efficiency combustions at high temperatures and ensure best available technology at filtering of exhaust gases.
  • Heat, being a by-product of electricity production, can be sold at competitive prices to local inhabitants and businesses.
  • Polish sourced straw under long-term contracts can offer local farmers and businesses opportunities for growth and support the rural economy.
  • Correctly managed, straw is a sustainable fuel that can offer a significant reduction in net carbon emissions compared with fossil fuels.
  • The establishment of local networks of production and usage allows financial and environmental costs of transport to be minimized. There is no region in Poland that cannot be a producer of straw, although some have greater potential than others.
  • Ashes from straw burned in a power plant can be used as a valuable, natural fertilizer in agriculture, which is beneficial to the environment and society.
  • Usage of the straw as the source of biomass, does not reduce food production.

TergoPower projects are 100% fired with straw. In the case of temporary straw shortages, they can also use up to 40% of the wood chips as a spare fuel.

Straw as biomass

Main components of straw as fuel:

  • Component
  • Carbon
  • Hydrogen
  • Oxygen
  • Nitrogen
  • Sulfur
  • Chlorine
  • Ash
  • Unit
  • wt%dry
  • wt%dry
  • wt%dry
  • wt%dry
  • wt%dry
  • wt%dry
  • wt%dry
  • Avarage value
  • 47.0
  • 6.0
  • 41.0
  • 0.5
  • 0.1
  • 0.4
  • 5.0
  • Acceptable compartment
  • 41-50
  • 5.4-6.5
  • 36-45
  • 0.2-1.5
  • 0.05-0.2
  • 0.1-1.2
  • 2-10

Read more about the fuel supply chain of a straw-fueled power plant in the TergoPower brochure.


Using straw to achieve a carbon dioxide balance

The combustion (direct or indirect) of biomass as a fuel also returns CO2 to the atmosphere. However, this carbon is part of the current carbon cycle: it was absorbed during the growth of the plant over the previous few months or years and, provided the land continues to support growing plant material, a sustainable balance is maintained between carbon emitted and absorbed.

  • As plants grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • During photosynthesis the plants store carbon in their cellulose tissue and oxygen is released back to the atmosphere.
  • At harvest fuel is transported to the heat or power generating plant.
  • As the plants are burned the carbon stored in the cellulose tissue combines with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide, which is emitted back to the atmosphere in the exhaust gases.

The amount of additional biomass that grows over the course of a year in a given area is known as the annual increment. Provided the amount consumed is less than the annual increment its use can be sustainable and biomass can be considered a low carbon-footprint fuel.

In modern incinerators, other components, such as sulfur and nitrogen, are largely insulated in the filter.

The combustion (direct or indirect) of biomass as a fuel also returns CO2 to the atmosphere. However, this carbon is part of the current carbon cycle: it was absorbed during the growth of the plant over the previous few months or years and, provided the land continues to support growing plant material, a sustainable balance is maintained between carbon emitted and absorbed.

  • As plants grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • During photosynthesis the plants store carbon in their cellulose tissue and oxygen is released back to the atmosphere.
  • At harvest fuel is transported to the heat or power generating plant.
  • As the plants are burned the carbon stored in the cellulose tissue combines with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide, which is emitted back to the atmosphere in the exhaust gases.

The amount of additional biomass that grows over the course of a year in a given area is known as the annual increment. Provided the amount consumed is less than the annual increment its use can be sustainable and biomass can be considered a low carbon-footprint fuel.

In modern incinerators, other components, such as sulfur and nitrogen, are largely insulated in the filter.